Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Artisan Brewing in Denmark, WA has become the first Australian resident to pass the examination to become a Certified Cicerone — a professional credential for beer experts much like the sommelier exams taken by wine specialists. Fitzgerald joins only 221 other beer professionals globally who have passed the rigorous exam since 2008.
“As a Certified Cicerone, Brian Fitzgerald has the talent and experience to select and present great beers for consumers to enjoy,” said Ray Daniels, Director of the Cicerone Certification Program.
“He understands the full scope of beer and its production, knows how to manage beer so that it will reach the consumer in good condition and can guide consumers in pairing beer with food.”
Fitzgerald, who plans to open a microbrewery in Denmark, Western Australia, started his own import/export company for amateur and craft brewing equipment in 2006. He has held the position of President of the Western Australian Brewers Association and the West Coast Brewers, is a Certified BJCP Beer Judge, and earned a Diploma in Brewing Science from the American Brewers Guild. He is also a well-known presenter on beer and organizer of Gourmet Beer Dinners and Craft Beer education events since 2007.
“This was one of the most stressful exams that I’ve ever taken”, Fitzgerald said.
“It covers a broad range of knowledge from several different areas in the brewing field, so it’s like 6 tests in one”.
The four-hour Certified Cicerone exam includes a written test, a hands-on demonstration and a 12-beer evaluation of tasting skills. Candidates must achieve a score of at least 80 per cent overall and at least 70 per cent on the tasting portion. So far in 2011, only 32 percent of all the candidates have achieved a passing score. The Master Syllabus at www.cicerone.org outlines the knowledge covered by the exam.
“I’m looking forward to doing more beer dinners and consumer events this year and into the future. You can never stop learning more about the complexities of beer. It’s as sophisticated as wine and deserves a lot more respect,” Fitzgerald said.
As the second level of the Cicerone Certification Program, Certified Cicerone denotes an experienced beer professional who is most likely working as a retail beer specialist, retail manager or as a brewery or wholesaler technical or sales representative. A first level exam awards a Certified Beer Server certificate for front-line retail staff with a competence in beer. While the program is based in the United States, it offers an International version of its exams.
Find out if you might have what it takes to become a Cicerone. Take the free 10-question sample exam at the Cicerone Certification Program website, www.cicerone.org.
The Cicerone Certification Program is a service of the Craft Beer Institute, the Chicago-based beer and brewing education organization.